Homemade rocks

Discussion in 'DIY - Do It Yourself' started by sirdarksol, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    Yep. That's what I said.
    Homemade rocks.
    "Why," you might ask, "does Sirdarksol want to make something that is bountiful in nature?"
    The answer is that I need big rocks. These are heavy, difficult to work with, and expensive (if I want to buy them, and I don't have any good-looking rocks around here, so that'd be what I'm doing).
    In order to get around this, I'll be working with concrete to make large, interesting, hollow rock formations. Portland cement is okay to use in aquaria as long as you add aquarium-safe sand (easy enough) and you cure it in fresh water before adding it to the aquarium.
    In this way, I'll be able to get large "rocks" that don't weigh quite as much (making them easier to get in a tank that whose lip is five and a half feet off the ground), and get them in interesting shapes.
  2. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Sounds pretty cool! Are they going to be solid or will mold the cement around chicken wire or something?

  3. peacemaker92Well Known MemberMember

    Sounds interesting! Hope to see some pics of your work soon, SDS! :) Best of luck!

  4. Goldwing_DonWell Known MemberMember

    All i have ever heard about MN is "if you like rocks you need to be a farmer in Minnesota". you get all you'll ever need". But i must say your idea does sound really good.
    need pictures to be sure :)

  5. sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    Sadly, I'm not a farmer. I live in a little suburb, and don't have access to any of the wonderful granite that I'd be finding if I had a sizable amount of land.

    I'm likely going to be doing a mold out of sand, since I worry about the metal in chicken wire leaching into the water.
  6. ldbrown3138Valued MemberMember

    I used to live near a bigger city and we had a cool "rock shop" They had a volcanic rock that was dark gray, smooth and varied in size from large grapefruit to basketball, the shapes varied. The best thing about this stone was it's weight, it was light, in fact some would float. It was easily worked as well, so I carved caves and tunnels. This type stone might be easier than making rock.
  7. Goldwing_DonWell Known MemberMember

    i have heard of people using rubber gloves or latex gloves to shape rocks.poor your rock mix over it.....just a thought
  8. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Sometimes volcanic rock and Lava rock are a little rough for our fishes if they bump or rub against it.

    SDS that sounds like an excellent idea.

    Are you going to wear gloves? I hear alkali burns can result from fresh cement.

    Can you use styrofoam as a mold?

    You think of the neatest projects :) Keep us posted at to your progress.
  9. sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    Yep, wearing gloves. I've got nitrile ones here, but I'll probably go out and get some elbow-length ones, just to be sure.
    I'd bet I could use styrofoam as a mold. Anything that won't melt from being wet (or from the alkaline chems. I'll probably go with sand for the first few because it's easy, it's reusable, and because wet sand will keep the concrete wet (it needs to remain wet to set).
  10. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    The reason I asked about the styrofom is because I saw a really cool rock wall made from styrofoam and cement.
  11. sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    Once I get used to working with it, I will likely branch out and work with different materials to get different effects.
  12. FurallicahWell Known MemberMember

    Are you going to leave it the cement color or are you going to dye it with food dye? I've seen cement dyed before looks pretty cool...takes like a bottle of dye but it looks good. Not sure if it could harm the fish or seep out of your water....on second thought forget I even said it. I do look forward to seeing some pictures when your done with your rocks!
  13. harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    As far as I know, the cement color is safe for use. I believe all the styro/concrete backgrounds on cichlid-forum.com use the concrete dye.

    SDS, I seem to remember reading on cichlid-forum that at least one of the authors used salt water to cure the cement because it speeds up the process of leaching out the nasties. I don't know if there is any truth to this, but it might be something to think about. :)
  14. Red1313Fishlore VIPMember

    Hmmm... I would think that fresh water would draw anything that could dissolve out faster (less stuff dissolved in it already)... not sure how the salt would help the draw but I could be missing something I've never really looked into it...
  15. sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    That sounds like myth to me. The purer the water, the more space the water has to pull the salts out of the concrete.

    Anyway, I'd been planning on painting, actually. However, dyeing is an awesome idea. I may go with that.
  16. harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    Sweet, thanks for clearing that up you two. :)

    Chemistry was never one of my strong points. :p
  17. Red1313Fishlore VIPMember

    Osmosis is a big topic in biology lol. Unless the salt helps by triggering secondary "rxns" which doesn't sound likely I'm skeptical :p

    Glad to help :p
  18. harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    LOL.... I was a social sciences double major. It's easy to get out of bio and chem classes that way! :p
  19. ldbrown3138Valued MemberMember


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